Slice of Life Story- The Playground is a Magnet

I returned to the local playground last week at the suggestion of two of my grandchildren. We were waiting for my wife to finish some essential fashion research in nearby shops and a timely suggestion emerged, -Can we go to the park?
We have been coming to this park, overlooking Mornington’s harbour for many years. Initially, Vicki and I came with their parents. All my grandchildren have played here over time. I am warmed by that knowledge. The playground is a magnet.
When we arrive, the children explode from the car, entering the playground with muscles twitching and limbs stretching into action. They climb they fall, they leap, they dive; swinging and sliding and hanging like monkeys. All the time they’re searching out the next piece of playground equipment to be conquered. They take risks and enter into personal challenges. They rise and fall incurring blisters and bruises, yet still they persist. Fun wins out.  It is a time for the healthy pursuit of a bit of rough and tumble. This is no place for wimps. The playground is a metaphor for life.

As they have grown, I notice the children have adapted their use of certain equipment. It is fascinating to watch them find new ways to use familiar structures. Shimmying up a pole, rather than sliding down. Walking up the slippery slide, or sliding down on its outer edge in a move that openly defies the accepted manner of sitting in the groove provided and sliding sedately to the bottom. When they tire of the play equipment, they climb and scramble over the massive trees nearby.

Following this, they run laps of the adjoining open space, before demanding a game of ‘tiggy.’ I’m included in the contest. I should feel honoured that I’m considered capable. It’s a little difficult to chase because I’m holding a bag and a camera, but I do my best. They giggle and squeal as we romp about. Gotcha! You’re it!

The park is crowded with family groups on the day of our visit. Summer is the perfect time to let kids run free in the playground. Their voices sing a song of pure delight. Adults sport cameras in the quest to capture these special times. As usual I take a raft of photos. It is a compelling force. Kids are generally at their vibrant best in this environment. As they grow older they will move away from the playground, but I suspect they will return in time with the next generation of playground explorers, who will unleash their boundless energies in this space The playground is a magnet.


Comments

  1. Your second paragraph, starting with the kids exploding from the car, brings the playground to life. Sounds like a wonderful place for everyone to be him/herself.

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  2. Like Stacey, I love the line about children exploding from the car. What a wonderful time for the grandkids (and Grandpa). Time spent with grandparents in the summer is always special.

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  3. Once again you have put words together to create such vivid images, I read this with a smile on my face all the way through. I love the description of kids playing, but another phrase caught my attention "essential fashion research," that will be my new phrase when I need to go shopping. :)

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  4. "metaphor for life" - I have found that to be true watching my preschool students on the playground.

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  5. Your last two lines remind me of Puff the Magic Dragon. There is something bittersweet in this cycle and you have captured it beautifully!

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  6. As I also wrote of grandchildren and playgrounds, this touched me so much. We've lived in our house many years with a park and a school behind us & we've also seen the playground equipment change, but visits to this playground call up my memories with my own chlldren, my older grandson, and now a toddler granddaughter. I agree, playgrounds bring out the magic in all of us, and your descriptions serve to make me say 'yes!' more than once.

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